Rainwater, Holt & Sexton | Injury Law Blog

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Arkansas

by Mike Rainwater | April 4th, 2017

Growing older is simply part of being human. We can only hope that when we’re no longer able to take care of ourselves that there is someone to provide that care with competence and compassion. For many aging folks in Arkansas, that means moving into a nursing home facility. And as a trusted member of their family, you help find the best facility they can afford with the understanding that all their needs will be provided while their rights are upheld. Unfortunately, not every nursing facility in Arkansas lives up to that responsibility.

As a nursing home resident, your aging loved one has a number of rights, the most important of which are the right to dignity, respect, and freedom and the right to be fully informed. In short, your aging loved one should retain the same freedoms every other American enjoys. Wherever those rights are compromised, nursing home neglect or abuse can exist.

But how do you recognize abuse or neglect? Look for the signs, including:

  • Abnormally pale complexion
  • Bedsores
  • Bruises in a pattern that would suggest restraints
  • Excessive and sudden weight loss
  • Fleas, lice, or dirt on resident or in resident’s room
  • Poor personal hygiene or other unattended health problems
  • Torn clothing or broken personal items
  • Odors of urine or feces
  • Untreated bedsores, wounds, cuts, bruises, or welts

If your aging loved shows indications of any of the above signs of abuse or neglect, call us immediately for a free consultation. Our experienced Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyers will fully investigate your loved one’s injuries and work to get them the justice they deserve. Don’t wait to get the help your aging loved one needs. Act now and give us a call.

What to do When You Hit Livestock in the Road

by Kirby McDonald | April 1st, 2017

While having a collision with a farm animal may seem like a freak accident, it is an all too common occurrence, especially in a rural state such as Arkansas. While practicing in Arkansas, I regularly hear people say, “I just hit a cow, what do I do now?”  So if you ever find yourself in this situation, here are a few things to keep in mind.

To begin, Arkansas case law defines livestock as including “horses, mules, cattle, goats, sheep, swine, chickens, ducks, and similar animals and fowl commonly raised or used for farm purposes.” Smith v. R.A. Brooks Trucking Co., 280 Ark. 510, 660 S.W.2d 1 (1983) 

The court has gone on further to delineate liability when an accident with livestock occurs. The court has stated, “It is well established that the owner of livestock is liable when damage results from intentionally or negligently permitting animals to run at large.” Smith v. R.A. Brooks Trucking Co., 280 Ark. 510, 660 S.W.2d 1 (1983). Therefore, if you are ever involved in a collision that results in property or bodily injury with a farm animal, don’t fret, because with little bit of leg work, you should be able to prove the livestock owner is liable for your damages.

To prove that the livestock owner is liable for the damages associated with a collision between their animal, and your car or person, Arkansas case law has set out what the plaintiff–the injured party–needs to show. First, in Oliver v. Jones, 239 Ark., 393 S.W.2d 248, 249, 1965 Ark., the court stated that the burden is on the injured party to show that the owner of the livestock is guilty of negligence in allowing their livestock to be on the highway.  The plaintiff in Oliver v. Jones, was able to do this through testimony of the Sheriff that the property owner had a plethora of complaints about cattle running at large on the highway, a witness testifying that he saw the livestock owner’s cattle on the highway at the point where the collision occurred, and another witness who testified that he too saw the livestock owner’s cattle in the highway the day the collision occurred.

The court went on further to state that mere knowledge of the animals being “at large” isn’t enough. This is due to the fact that livestock animals are generally large creatures that can escape their enclosures, and the courts don’t want to punish farmers for freak accidents occurring, such as cattle running through a fence during a storm. In Miller v. Nix, 315 Ark. 868 S.W.2d 1994 Ark, the court stated, “while the evidence showed that the owner’s fence was in need of repair, no holes were found through which a cow could escape. Further, the driver presented no direct evidence to prove the owner owned the cow that was struck[,]” therefore when you have a collision with a farm animal, you need to immediately start looking for an area where the property owners livestock could have escaped their enclosures, i.e. holes in fences, lack of a chicken coop, open or faulty gate, etc., take pictures, and find evidence of who owns the livestock and the property they escaped from. Once you have done that, you then need to see if any neighbors or witnesses have complained of such and check the sheriff’s log as well for complaints. If you are able to find all of these, or need help doing them it may be time to call an attorney. Call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, let us do the work and guide you through the entire claim process.

 

Spirit of Arkansas Winner – Partners Against Trafficking Humans

by Richard Atkinson | March 20th, 2017

Partners Against Trafficking Humans (PATH) embodies all we want in a Spirit of Arkansas winner. They truly see and meet a need that most people don’t realize happens inside our state. Many people believe human trafficking happens oversees, but estimates show between 100,000-300,000 children are trafficked in the US.  Often this is done by someone they know, or worse, a family member. PATH works to advocate on behalf of the victims, rescue people being trafficked, and assist in recovery.  As organizations like PATH bring awareness and action to the tragedy that is human trafficking, we support PATH to help those statistics work their way down to zero.  Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is pleased to present this month’s Spirit of Arkansas award to PATH.

Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage Worth it?

by Mike Rainwater | March 19th, 2017

You’ve probably seen the option to add “uninsured” or “underinsured” coverage to your car insurance plan. Have you ever wondered if it’s worth it to add the additional coverage – or wondered when you would need it?

Uninsured/underinsured coverage is needed when you’re in an accident and the person at fault doesn’t have insurance, or you’ve been in a hit-and-run. Uninsured or underinsured car insurance keeps you from getting stuck with bills from an accident you didn’t cause.

The Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured

Uninsured motorist coverage is used when you’re in a crash caused by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run. The coverage will pay for injuries you or your passengers suffer.

Underinsured motorist coverage is used when a driver hits you and has some insurance, but not enough to cover your medical costs. Like uninsured coverage, it pays for injuries you or your passengers suffer.

If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured insurance, you can also see if health insurance will pay for medical expenses after a car wreck. Your existing collision coverage will pay for damage to your car but you will still need to pay your collision deductible.

 Uninsured Drivers in Arkansas

In Arkansas, 16 percent of drivers are uninsured. That means, if you’re in a car accident in Arkansas, there’s a 16 percent chance that the person at fault is uninsured.

The cost of adding the additional coverage varies depending on your age, vehicle and location. The average cost of damage in a car accident is $7,500 – not counting medical bills.

The decision to add uninsured/underinsured coverage to your plan comes down to how comfortable you feel taking on the risk of having to pay for damage from an accident you didn’t cause.

If you’ve been in an accident in Arkansas caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, talk to a Fayetteville personal injury attorney about your options for coverage of medical bills and property damage.

Victory Over Violence Difference Maker – Women and Children First

by Richard Atkinson | March 17th, 2017

Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is excited to partner with KARK Channel 4 and Fox 16 to present the Victory Over Violence Difference Maker Award.  Once a month, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton will present a $1,000 donation to an organization that is fighting violence in our community and has established themselves as a true Difference Maker. The partnership goal is to create a safer Central Arkansas by uniting community groups that are promoting change through improvements in education, jobs, mentoring, and hunger.

The first Difference Maker Award winner is Women and Children First. The award was kicked off during the live telethon for DJ’s Day of Action. RHS was able to be a part of an event that raised over $30,000 for Women and Children First. In the over 40 years it has been around Women and Children First has helped thousands of women and children escape domestic violence. They truly are Difference Makers who are working to ensure that there is Victory Over Violence.

The Evidence You Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Claim in Arkansas

by Mike Rainwater | March 17th, 2017

Personal injury is when you’ve been injured by the negligence of someone else. Injuries can be emotional, bodily or damage caused to your property. Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, personal injury cases are initiated by a private individual, which is why they’re also commonly referred to as civil complaints.

If you’re planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit, you should be prepared to collect documentation about the incident and the expenses and damage that resulted. Be prepared with the following evidence.

  • Physical evidence: If your vehicle, bike, clothing or other belonging was damaged, this actual object is considered evidence and is a key piece of your lawsuit.
  • Police report or other written reports: A police report from the scene of the incident, for example, a car accident, is another very important piece of evidence.
  • Photographs of the scene: Take photographs of the scene where you were injured. If you were injured in the workplace, take photos of the area where you were injured. If you didn’t have an opportunity to take photos immediately following the incident, return to the scene as soon as possible.
  • Evidence of injuries: You can show evidence of your injuries with medical records, photos and any other healthcare documentation.
  • Documentation from witnesses: If there were witnesses at the scene, have them write a description of what they witnessed as soon as possible following the incident.
  • Diary of events: Keep a diary of how you felt during and after the incident. This can be used as evidence to show how the accident is affecting you.
  • Out of pocket expenses for injury: Keep track of any expenses you’ve had to pay to cover your injury.

How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?

No two personal injury lawsuits are the same, but the typical series of events is as follows:

  • Injury Occurs: The defendant does something to injure the plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff Suspects Negligence: The plaintiff believes that the defendant acted negligently, causing the injury to occur unnecessarily.
  • Plaintiff Contacts Personal Injury Lawyer: The plaintiff will likely contact a personal injury lawyer to begin the process of proving the defendant’s negligence.
  • Settlement Talks or Court Proceedings: The plaintiff’s attorney and the plaintiff will either reach a settlement agreement with the defendant and/or his insurance company. If no settlement is agreed, the plaintiff may choose to take the claim to court.

If you’ve been unnecessarily injured due to the negligence of someone else, contact an Arkansas personal injury lawyer to start the process of collecting evidence and preparing a strong case for you to be awarded compensation for your injuries.

You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Your Car Accident

by Richard Atkinson | March 17th, 2017

Car accidents are never scheduled. You don’t put a date and time on your calendar to be involved in a serious car wreck, and you don’t prepare for the weeks, months, and even years it can take to fully recover from one. That’s why a serious car accident can flip the lives of a normal Arkansas family upside down. The physical realities of your injuries alone can be overwhelming, not to mention the financial ones. You have medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs that are bound to start coming in soon, and how will you pay for it all?

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we don’t think you should have to. In our opinion, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should be on the hook for all the expenses you incur due to your injuries, but getting fair compensation from them can be difficult on your own. The problem is most accident victims don’t know what their case is truly worth, so they often take too little money for their claim. An experienced Arkansas car accident attorney knows how to determine what your case is truly worth and can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to make sure you’re treated fairly.

If you’ve been injured, call our experienced Arkansas car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We’ve been helping injured folks in Arkansas for more than 30 years, and we’re ready to put our experience to work for you as well. Contact us today for your no cost, no obligation consultation.

Bankruptcy Is Not An End Game

by Mike Rainwater | March 15th, 2017

People seek protection from the bankruptcy court for many different reasons.  Sometimes it is a business idea that did not work out as planned.  Sometimes it is an unexpected illness or other catastrophic event that causes unexpected expenses.  Sometimes it is the result of a job loss or other expected reduction in family income.  Sometimes it is the aftermath of a bad car wreck or workplace injury or a divorce or the death of the family breadwinner. And, yes, it is sometimes the result of simply getting over-extended to the point that the family is drowning in debt with no realistic possibility of surviving without liquidating unpayable debt.

Whatever the reason…seeking bankruptcy court protection is always a new beginning. It is not an end game. It’s the start of a new chapter of life. Some of the most successful people end up seeking bankruptcy court protection – because they took a chance. And, in our experience, many people are financially successful because they have already filed bankruptcy; they are no longer afraid of losing.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to understand that filing bankruptcy isn’t the end of the game. It’s just the beginning of a new round. It’s a fresh start for you and your family. Whatever the reason, the bankruptcy attorneys at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton can help you get the needed fresh start.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy in Arkansas, call us immediately for a free consultation. There are a number of things you need to know and consider before making that next step, and our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can help you make the right decisions. You don’t have to go through this alone. Contact us today.

Will the Statute of Limitations Affect my Accident Claim?

by Mike Rainwater | March 14th, 2017

The Statute of Limitations is a state law that sets limits on the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit to court. This legal rule varies by state and by cause of action.

For example, in Kentucky and Tennessee the restriction for taking legal action in an accident is one year, while in Maine and North Dakota it’s six years, and in Oregon it’s ten years.

For residents of Arkansas, you have three years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit for negligence that causes a motor vehicle accident that causes injury or death. The statute of limitations will not affect your accident claim if you bring it to court before the three-year limit expires.

When Does the Clock Start?

Determining when the limit starts is not always simple. Different periods of limitation apply to intentional claims, malpractice claims, and workers compensation claims. The best rule is to count the period of limitations from the earliest possible date, which would be the date of the motor vehicle collision. In a motor vehicle accident where there was an injury or property damage, the date of the accident is the start of the three years for a negligence claim.

More importantly, it is important to remember that it takes time to work up a claim.  Do not wait.  Contact a lawyer as soon as possible … so the lawyer can gather the facts while the evidence is still fresh and find the witnesses while they can still be found and can still have fresh recall.  A lawyer often does not want to get involved in a claim that is within months of the limitations date, or so old that it will be difficult to gather the facts and needed testimony. The lawyer needs time to work the claim through the pre-lawsuit negotiation process.  Since there are deadlines that apply, the best time to act on getting a lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim is NOW.

 What Happens if a Claim is Not Filed Within the Time Limit?

For various reasons, some injured parties may not file their claim immediately – perhaps because they did not realize the extent of the injuries or damage. If you do not file your claim within the time limit, your legal claim is totally barred and your right to sue is lost forever.

Because it’s not worth it to lose this right altogether, leave yourself plenty of time to file a car or truck accident lawsuit. If you’re concerned your three-year limit might be approaching, talk to a  Fayetteville truck accident lawyer about your options.

What’s the Definition of Personal Injury?

by Mike Rainwater | March 11th, 2017

A personal injury case, also referred to as a tort lawsuit, is when an injury to mind, body or emotions is caused by the negligence of another. Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, personal injury cases are initiated by a private individual who files a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation or government agency.

In personal injury cases, the plaintiff is the private individual who has been injured and is filing the case, and the defendant is the entity that is accused of acting carelessly and causing harm. The most common types of personal injuries are:

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Work accidents
  • Tripping accidents
  • Assault claims
  • Accidents in the home
  • Cruise ship accidents
  • Product defect accidents
  • Holiday accidents

Lawsuits vs. Settlements

Individuals injured in an accident caused by someone else can be entitled to monetary compensation. Many personal injury disputes are resolved through a settlement rather than going to court. In a settlement, a negotiation is reached in which both sides agree to not pursue any further action in exchange for a resolution via payment of an agreed upon sum of money.

How Does a Personal Injury Case Work?

Every personal injury case is different, but there are some basic tenets that occur in each case. The typical series of events is as follows:

  • Injury Occurs: First, of course, the defendant does something to injure the plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff Suspects Negligence: The plaintiff believes that the defendant acted negligently, causing the injury to occur unnecessarily.
  • Plaintiff Contacts Personal Injury Lawyer: Because negligence is suspected, the plaintiff will likely contact a personal injury lawyer to begin the process of proving that a legal duty was breached.
  • Settlement Talks or Court Proceedings: The plaintiff’s attorney and the plaintiff will either reach a settlement agreement with the defendant and/or his insurance company. If no settlement is agreed, the plaintiff may choose to take the claim to court.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact an Arkansas Personal Injury lawyer. Depending on the intent or negligence of the defendant, you could be entitled to monetary compensation through a settlement or judgment.

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